Quetta (Pakistan) (AFP) - At least 23 people including several Shiite pilgrims were killed in a gun and suicide attack on the restive Pakistan-Iran border late Sunday night, Pakistani officials said, in the latest assault on the beleaguered minority sect. The attack came when a bus carrying Pakistani pilgrims returning from a visit to holy Muslim sites in Iran stopped at a restaurant in the Pakistani town of Taftan in Baluchistan province, around 700 kilometres (430 miles) southwest of the provincial capital Quetta. Akbar Durrani, the provincial home secretary said: "Twenty-three pilgrims were killed in the suicide attack in Taftan. Addressing a press conference, Durrani said four suicide bombers attacked two restaurants full of pilgrims.
Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan's busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, forcing the suspension of all flights as the army was called in to repel the gunmen, officials said. Army spokesman Colonel Nayer said that troops had been deployed from the Malir cantonment near their airport. A spokesman for Airport Security Force (ASF) told AFP: "Four to five terrorists have managed to reach the runway, they are heavily armed with ammunition and grenades and ASF commandos have cordoned off the area along with police and rangers. The spokesman said the gunmen had entered the airport by cutting through a barbed-wire fence at the airport's old terminal which is no longer used for passengers but instead has offices, workshops and hangars.
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - The Central African government collected several hundred weapons in a disarmament drive on Sunday but admitted it was a modest amount after months of rampant arms proliferation in the crisis-hit country. The voluntary disarmament day called by Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke was focused on eight districts in the capital Bangui and two neighbouring areas. In the PK-5 districts, the last hold-out for the capital's Muslims after months of sectarian attacks, French and African peacekeepers collected 69 grenades, 13 bows, 62 arrows, 15 guns and some 200 munitions from around 192 individuals.
Secretary of State John Kerry defended Sunday the prisoner swap that freed US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, said to have been sometimes kept in a metal cage and in total darkness while in captivity. Kerry doubled down on President Barack Obama's controversial decision to release five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay a week ago in exchange for the freedom of Bergdahl, who the top US diplomat said was at risk of being tortured by his captors.
Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan's busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, killing at least five people as flights were suspended and the army was called in, officials said. The assault on Jinnah International Airport has raised fears about the possibility of a prolonged siege similar to other brazen attacks on key installations in recent years. A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, Abid Qaimkhani told AFP: "Four to five terrorists have managed to reach the runway, they are heavily armed with ammunition and grenades and Airport Security Force commandos have cordoned off the area along with police and rangers. A paramilitary ranger engaged in the operation said the militants had entered through the Engineering Section of the Pakistan International Airlines near the airport's old terminal.
Lice (Turkey) (AFP) - Police and demonstrators clashed in Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey on Sunday as tensions mounted the day after two Kurdish men were killed in protests that turned violent. Police fired tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators who threw stones and burnt barricades following the funeral of one of the victims killed Saturday in the Lice district of Kurdish majority Diyarbakir province, an AFP reporter on the scene said. Sunday's confrontation came after the two Kurdish protesters, aged 24 and 50, died of gunshot wounds sustained during fierce clashes between soldiers and demonstrators angry at government plans to build military barracks in Lice. Police also briefly clashed with Kurdish protesters in Bagcilar, a working-class district of Istanbul and in Hakkari, another Kurdish-majority southeastern city, Dogan news agency reported.
Italy and Malta on Sunday said they had been "forgotten" by Europe amid a massive influx of migrants -- an accusation rejected by Brussels which admitted however that other countries could do more to help. Thousands of migrants -- mainly from Eritrea and Syria but also sub-Saharan Africa -- have arrived or are on their way in what Malta said was the "biggest" search and rescue operation in recent years. Italy said that more than 50,000 migrants have landed since on its shores the start of the year -- around the same numbers as for the whole of last year. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat criticised the European Union in an interview with One Radio saying: "Europe has forgotten everyone.
Former UN envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has warned that the war-torn country was heading toward becoming "another Somalia" ruled by warlords, in an interview published in a German weekly this weekend. Brahimi, the former special representative on Syria for the United Nations and the Arab League, resigned in frustration last month after making little progress towards ending the brutal civil war, now in its fourth year. When asked what he predicted would ultimately become of Syria, the veteran Algerian diplomat told der Spiegel: "It will become another Somalia. Brahimi also painted a grim picture for the countries neighbouring Syria.
Herzliya (Israel) (AFP) - A Palestinian unity deal with the Islamist Hamas movement must be supported, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told an Israeli security conference on Sunday. His remarks came just days after a Palestinian unity government, comprised of political independents but backed by Hamas, was sworn in -- a move welcomed by the international community but rejected by Israel as a major stumbling block to peace. "In the interest of a future peace deal and of a legitimate and representative government, intra-Palestinian reconciliation... should be supported," Barroso told delegates at a conference in the coastal city of Herzliya. Any Palestinian government should uphold the principle of non-violence, be committed to a two-state solution and a negotiated settlement of the conflict, which would imply accepting existing agreements as well as recognising Israel's right to exist, he said.
One person was killed Sunday in the Sudanese capital as police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration over water shortages, police and witnesses said. Hanan Omar Jadallah, a demonstrator, said that men, women and children took part. Several areas of Khartoum have been hit by water cuts for the past month, a situation exacerbated by rising summer temperatures.
Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan's busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, forcing the suspension of all flights, officials said. Senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwar said the militants were armed with automatic weapons and grenades and were exchanging gunfire with security personnel. Abid Qaimkhani, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed the attack, adding all flights had been suspended. There has so far been no claim of responsibility, but Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for more than a decade that has claimed thousands of lives.
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is "doing very well" after being admitted to hospital for exhaustion, one of his four wives said on Sunday. A senior official of the ruling ANC earlier said Zuma was expected to be discharged on Sunday, a day after he was admitted for tests following reports of exhaustion. But there was no update from Zuma's office by Sunday evening.
South Africa's ruling party claimed "foreign forces" may be behind a lengthy platinum strike that has battered the continent's most developed economy, a top party official said on Sunday. The ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, said a meeting of the party's highest decision-making body had looked into the causes behind the wage dispute, now in its fifth month. "It is a signal, small as it may sound, of foreign forces taking an active interest in destabilising South Africa and its economy," he said. He also alleged that a senior official of the opposition leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, had been directly involved in the wage negotiations between the platinum mine owners and the union.
A court on Sunday ordered Sao Paulo subway workers to pay a daily fine if they continue a strike threatening to disrupt the World Cup's opening game in Brazil's biggest city. The ruling came as more teams arrived in Brazil, with Germany greeted by several hundred people at its northeastern base and England landing in the picturesque city of Rio de Janeiro. Eighteen of the 32 teams are now on the ground, including the hosts, but the chaos gripping Sao Paulo -- the latest in a wave of strikes and protests ahead of the tournament -- has distracted the usually passionate footballing nation from the World Cup build-up. "The court ruled the strike was abusive," said union spokesman Thiago Marcelino Pereira.
Secretary of State John Kerry defended Sunday the swap of five Guantanamo detainees for American Bowe Bergdahl, amid reports the captive US soldier was kept at times in a metal cage and in total darkness. Kerry doubled down on President Barack Obama's controversial decision to make the trade in exchange for the release of Bergdahl, who the top US diplomat said was at risk of being tortured by his captors. Bergdahl was released to US troops in Afghanistan last Saturday in exchange for the five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.